PUCL Bulletin, June 2002
National Commission for SC & ST wants to know why an upper cast landlord's "bonded labourer escaped without clearing his dues" ?
By Jai Singh,
1. The National Commission
for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was constituted to deliver speedy
justice, wherever any member of Scheduled Caste is facing atrocity or
caste discrimination. I am shocked when yesterday the Deputy Superintendent
of Police, Phillaur District Jalandhar. Punjab, summoned me and Hari Singh,
a bonded labourer to appear before him in an investigation, on a complaint
made by an upper caste landlord against the members of Scheduled Caste
for denial to render services as bonded labourer.
2. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was approached by an upper caste landlord, Gurmakh Singh S/o Shri Hardev Singh R/o Boaran Khurd, Post office Binheri Khurd, Tehsil Nabha, District Patiala, by addressing a letter to Harinder Singh Khalsa, Member of National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
In short, the contents
of the matter are as mentioned below:
3. National Commission
for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has entertained the complaint
of an upper caste landlord and vide its letter No. pb/99/2001 APCR dated
13th June 2001 orders has been passed directing Director General of Police
Punjab, to investigate the matter.Under
the direction of DGP the DSP Phillaur is holding the inquiry.
4. Through the undersigned is a semiliterate person, but still able to understand that:
5. The members of Scheduled Caste are illiterate, economically and socially backward, for the historical reason they were not a part of the judicial system, which remains so even today. To enable them to fight the discriminations made against them, and achieve what the Constitution of India has promised them, the Free Legal Aid Scheme is introduced. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was constituted to monitor the administration to ensure the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes get justice speedily, and to make recommendations to the Government of India for the upliftment of the SC and ST.
If the National Commission
for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on a complaint made by upper
caste has to order the Director General of Police to look in to the matter
why bonded labourers members of Scheduled Caste have escaped from the
custody of bonded keeper, why asylum is provided to them and why the law
passed by the Indian Parliament is being breached which is favouring the
members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, then do we really need
such a Commission? Such service we have been already getting from the
State Administration for the last several years, without any extra financial
burden on the economy of this country.
6. As a member of Scheduled Caste and a citizen of India, the undersigned aspires that right from the Chairman of the Commission to the sweeper of the Commission to the sweeper of the Commission have knowledge on why this Commission has been made, who can seek relief and the laws made to rage out the caste discriminations. If the members of this Commission want to know why the bonded labourers wants to free themselves, it is a mockery to the Constitution of India, and the Act under which this Commission has came in to existence. If not this then it is the criteria of selection of its members and appointment of staff is definitely wrong.
Moreover, the senior
police officials if not able to respond back to say the inquiry they are
asked to make runs contrary to law and the complainant has admitted the
offences committed under such crimes where they need to take cognizance,
it means either they are demoralized to point out the erroneous orders
of their superiors, or they too need orientation on law made to protect
the marginalized people of this country. I am utterly ashamed to be a
citizen of a country known to be the largest democracy in the world where
members of a special Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
entrusted special kind of work and the law enforcing agencies to make
out a case where the offender commits the crime and still the victim of
the legal inquiry is questioned and harassed.
Your Excellency is
the protector of Constitution of India, the action of the National Commission
for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is contrary to "Fundamental
Rights" granted to every citizen of India, it will demoralize millions
of bonded labourers who are generally either members of Scheduled Caste
or Scheduled Tribes to seek Equity. Freedom and Justice. The Commission
has become a tool to benefit upper caste landlords, who want to keep their
dominance over the poor marginalised members of Scheduled Caste and a
burden on Indian economy. I pray your Excellency, either to correct the
functioning of the Commission or to obliterate it from the statute book.
- Jai Hind.